Ben Herman is an Oregon native, who’s lifelong appreciation and interest in technology led him to a the career in online marketing, and web development, and ultimately to build one of Portland’s Premier Interactive Agencies.
Having started working with search engines in 2003, Ben quickly learned that the right online marketing strategy, not only could a living be made, but business could benefit by reaching out to their ever growing online audience. Having grown up in a small town, Ben worked his way up the corporate ladder in an effort to find a company that would relocate him to Portland , Oregon. While working for a small market research firm named RDD, Ben was promoted several times, and gained valuable experience in the fields of analytics, operations, and lean management.
Ben had always known that his true calling was to one day own a company of his own in the tech space. Having a background in programming, and experience in marketing and analytics, starting a search engine marketing firm became a perfect fit.
Experimenting with optimization techniques as early as 2003, and taking a stab at being a part time domainer, Ben worked for years to develop an arsenal of white hat techniques that would improve the rankings of client’s websites, and grow valuable targeted traffic for websites in a variety of niches.
Having always held true the proverb of “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach him how to fish and he’ll eat for forever”, Ben decided that in 2005, it was time to start fishing, and so “Mad Fish SEO” was born.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on our recently launched custom analytics reporting platform called “Mad Fish Elements”. We’ve been working nights and weekends to build custom reports which track customized KPIs set out by each of our clients. The platform handles tasks such as identifying valuable keywords which efficiently convert for a website, reputation & brand tracking, customized phone number tracking, and just about everything in between. We’ve been getting a ton of positive feedback, which inevitably, has driven me to work longer hours.
3 Trends that excite you
The first trend that excites me, is the growth in data available for analyzing websites and competitors. As mundane as it sounds, I tend to get very “fired up” when it comes to what Mad Fish has developed to help our clients with competitive intelligence for their websites. The data on website and visitors is growing daily, and I get very excited when we can be a part of it.
The second trend that I can’t get enough of is cloud computing. I love Amazon EC2. Yes, I am a nerd. But having the ability to quickly scale on demand computing/hosting power changes the landscape for many many small businesses. Data collection which used to take weeks, can now be collected in a matter of hours. I can’t wait to see where this trend goes.
The third trend that excites me the most is the growing number of people that are able to utilize the internet to sustain a successful lifestyle. As technology grows, so do the number of new ideas and the opportunities to be had. We’re witnessing more and more business professionals working from home, spending more time with their family, and sustaining themselves with work that they have a passion for. This excites me because the action of these people does not necessarily fit into our culture’s standard way of thinking, yet is proving to be successful.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’m not afraid to fail. The best way for me to bring an idea to life is to start small, and just do it. If I can’t quickly get it off the ground in my first attempt, I move on.
If I can get my idea off the ground, then I invest my time to fully plan what it will take to develop the idea, as well as the estimated return on my heartbeat.
I’ve heard it said that failure, is just another chance to find your next success. And that perfection, is just an excuse for procrastination. I believe both of these thoughts to be correct.
All and all, my favorite tool for developing new ideas is the almighty pen and paper.
What is one mistake that you’ve made that our readers can learn from?
A mistake that I’ve made in the past would be that I didn’t go with my gut.
I’m a very open minded person, and I tend to consider many opinions. Over the years, I’ve learned that there’s no opinion more important than your own gut instinct.
For every business mistake that I’ve made, I had usually not listened to my gut instinct.
What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I don’t think I have one great idea to give away, but I always enjoy learning about the sciences of business management.
Over the past 20-30 years, there have been some great advancements in how we look at managing projects and employees. I think now more than ever, there are a ton of tools at our disposal for tracking employee productivity, and harnessing that information in a manner that drives a company forward.
Do those who work for his company, enjoy going to work?
I hope the answer is yes.
It’s rare that someone is as passionate as myself for topics such as custom web analytics or cloud computing, but I feel that a good work place listens to it’s employees, and is conscious of the work/life balance.
As the owner, I have to be a leader. I also have to make sure that we deliver for our clients. But what really matters, is that we all work in a unique, positive environment where people enjoy coming in, and grow as people.
Do you live a full life, and are you happy?
My answer is undoubtedly yes, and yes.
Living is nothing if you don’t enjoy yourself from time to time. Over the past ten years I have learned that the tables are always turning. What seems like a big deal today, can sometimes in hind sight be an insignificant blip.
Enjoy life now and be present. Don’t live in the past, or worry about the future, but be present, and stay focused on the here and now.
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